5 World Cup Ads That Score

Watch the sensational ads making the most of the global stage

BY: Michael Maerlender, Content Intern

Super Bowl commercials propel advertising to new creative heights—and through astronomical budgets—each and every year. Why? The Super Bowl has a massive national audience. Now imagine an event that captivates the entire world. Welcome to the FIFA World Cup!

Here at iostudio, we’ve ranked the five best commercials from the 2018 World Cup, examining how they effectively engage their global audience. So, let's get started! In descending order …

5. Gatorade: Everything Changes

Soccer superstars Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Luis Suarez (Uruguay) are teammates for FC Barcelona. That is until the World Cup, when both play for their national teams. Gatorade’s “Everything Changes” ad, over two minutes long, flexes serious marketing muscle and banks on more than big names—it enters the fan drama of having a your hero become your foe. And the escalating action between Messi and Suárez allows viewers to embrace the novelty of that switch, while positioning their brand as the sole constant: “Everything changes, except what’s inside them.”

4. Coca-Cola: Ready For

Paralleling a pregame speech to athletes, Coca-Cola’s spot highlights the place a bottle of Coke has in a fans’ emotional experience—winning or losing. Their approach is well-balanced, personifying the bottles with context and subtlety rather than with animation. It’s uplifting, creative and comedic. (Note the close-up on a single bottle that “sweats” a bead of condensation at the mention of the possibility of being crushed.) Coke effectively gives its product a life that transitions its role from a mere drink to an active participant in each fan’s World Cup experience.

3. Paddy Power: VAR

Paddy Power’s commercial moves fast, and it uses that pace to its advantage. It’s loaded with snappy, quotable one-liners and quick-striking jokes. In fact, there are so many crammed in that it absolutely begs to be watched multiple times. Moreover, part of the ad’s effectiveness is that it seamlessly communicates with two separate audiences: soccer veterans familiar with video assistant referees (VAR) and bandwagon fans—no shame—who can grasp the joke in context. That way, everyone laughs.

2. GEICO: Longest Goal Celebration Ever

True: The GEICO “Count On” campaign has been going strong since October of 2017. This commercial is an example why. The “Longest Goal Celebration Ever” spot has over 8 million views online, with millions more on TV. What makes it so effective? It plays on audience tendencies to jump ahead. World Cup watchers will have recently seen goal celebrations, so they initially think they know what they’re watching—then surprise. Sudden shock and laughter create a strong emotional imprint, and for GEICO, that keeps their brand near top of mind.

1. Reyka Vodka: Join Our Team

The U.S. audience has a dilemma. The World Cup is a huge sporting event … which America is out of. Reyka Vodka speaks to the feeling of displacement that American soccer fans hold. And it offers a simple solution: Cheer for Iceland! By promoting camaraderie and inviting American fans to cheer for Iceland (over a drink), the ad aligns itself with two massive viewer groups at once. Skål, Reyka. You’ve scored big time with this one.


Every commercial has its takeaways, but the biggest one is this: Use your time. Firms spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for every thirty seconds of air time, so time is quite literally money. While a longer ad can magnify the depth of your brand’s message, it’s more important to assess how to best communicate to your audience in the time you have. Thirty seconds can be ordinary or extraordinary. Make the most of your opportunity. Your audience will notice.

Think your brand could use a World Cup-worthy ad? Come see how we kick it. Contact us here.

 

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Michael is a content intern here at iostudio—and pleasantly surprised to discover that “content” is not slang for “coffee run.” Instead of fetching lattes, Michael assists our creative team on copywriting projects and also serves as a nice filler for that open desk next to Mark. As a rising senior at Vanderbilt University with majors in Theatre and Creative Writing, Michael is not only the youngest person in the office, he’s also the least athletic. He loves talking about music, playwriting, graphic design and the DreamWorks animated masterpiece, “The Road to El Dorado.”